Shipping Tips & Solutions

How to Mail Prescription Drugs

Mailing prescription drugs in the U.S. is complex and strictly regulated. Learn how to do it with our comprehensive new guide here!
How to Mail Prescription Drugs

By Jules


November 12, 2019

Mailing prescription drugs is something that many business owners and individuals are unsure of how to do. It might be a good way to help out family members, neighbors, customers or friends who need to have their prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs replenished. However, mailing prescription or over-the-counter drugs in the U.S. comes with many pitfalls you need to be aware of.

Here’s a closer look at the specifics at mailing medication so you know how to do it safely and legally!

Can You Send Prescription Drugs in the Mail?

Mailing prescription drugs is only allowed is when it’s being done by entities that are registered with the DEA.

The one situation in which you’re allowed to mail any prescription drugs is when you or the recipient are exempted from DEA registration. Those in active military, law enforcement or civil defense are usually exempted from this registration.

However, another instance is when you are sending the medication back to the manufacturer, either as a result of a recall or error in dispensing the prescription drugs.

Essentially, you can actually send prescriptions through mail just as long as you follow due process in mailing the medication. Both postal services like USPS and private couriers such as FedEx stipulate that all applicable Federal, state and local laws should be strictly followed. In order to be on the safe side, always make sure you find out as much as possible about the laws governing your state or city in addition to understanding Federal regulations.

What is the Penalty for Mailing Prescription Drugs?

Notably, there are certain penalties that apply when you fail to follow due process of mailing prescription drugs in the United States. The extent of penalty is determined mostly by the type of prescription medication you mailed and your state of residence.

For example, in California, you could potentially be jailed between one and five years for this offense. The number of years depends on certain factors, including if the prescription was forged or if there were other people involved in a conspiracy to sell these prescription medications outside of legal boundaries.

Every state in the U.S. has its own unique regulations and, as such, it’s important to confirm the standing laws and regulations regarding mailing medications. You can also find out more from the particular shipping courier you intend on using.

How to Send Prescription Drugs Through the Mail

Mailing prescription drugs is something that requires a deep understanding of the Federal, state and local laws that govern it. Here are the steps you should take in order to mail prescription medications safely and legally.

  1. Visit the courier website and search for content as it relates to shipping prescription medications.
  2. Read up on the rules and regulations applicable to your state of residence, as well as Federal and local laws. This way, you’ll be able to better understand what is legal and what’s not before mailing the medications.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the many codes that are used in regulating mailing of prescription drugs.
  4. Follow all applicable Federal, state and local laws and regulations, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970.
  5. When actually shipping prescription drugs, make sure the package is properly labeled and addressed to the recipient. For example, if the prescription drugs are being returned to the manufacturer, it should typically be addressed to the registered agent of the manufacturer or directly to the manufacturer itself.

Mailing Prescription Drugs: Be Sure to Know the Laws

Whether you’re shipping prescription drugs to your customers, loved ones, friends or colleagues, it’s very important that you follow the laws and regulations that guide mailing prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.

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